All hail to the King of the Magic: Markelle Fultz returns as Orlando outpace Indiana in the Amway Center to take a 103-119 victory. His return could not have gone any better. However this was a team win built on strong and determined defence, from which came great offensive rhythm.
We have to first talk Markelle Fultz. With a shade under 4 minutes to play of the first quarter the return was made. His first action was something we’d written about in yesterday’s game preview. Fultz with ball in hand, driving into the paint off of a Wendell Carter Jr screen, finding a cutting Franz Wagner to lay the ball home. That set the tone for his night, for what would be an energetic total of 16 minutes of play.
Orlando trailed early in what was a tight and hard fought first half. It was the third quarter where Orlando took control and secured the win. By the close 8 Magic players had scored in double figures. Ball movement and an unselfish attitude was a mark of the Magic offence, dishing out 29 assists. Orlando were also relentless on the offensive glass, securing 10 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points.
Against a team that had scored 128 points in regulation time against the Boston Celtics the previous night, the Magic defence was king. Active hands saw deflections, steals and Pacer turnovers mount. It was also done without making unnecessary fouls
Magic Top Performers
Markelle Fultz will take the plaudits deservedly on his return. With 10 points, 2 rebounds and 6 assists in his 16 minutes from the bench his comeback could not have gone any better. He looked fit, strong and full of energy. He made plays for those around him and did it with a smile.
Wendell Carter Jr was dominant. His 27th double-double of the season came from a 21 point and 12 rebound performance. The screen setting again was again immaculate as was his performance rebounding on the offensive glass. Wendell is easily our most improved player of the season.
Mo Bamba played with great energy and determination. Joining Wendell he also had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. There was also a monster block and a steal to go with his best performance for a while.
Jalen Suggs was a third Magic player to get a double-double. A full throttle, energy performance saw him score 14 points and matched a career high with 10 assists.
Franz Wagner was strong, working tirelessly to get 15 points for his 52nd double figure scoring game in 62 played.
Chuma Okeke was more understated for his 6 points than last times career high. His relentless presence defensively saw him grab another steal and a block.
Up Next After Fultz Returns As Orlando Outpace Indiana
The Magic and Pacers will do battle again at Amway Center on Wednesday night. It will be the final meeting between the two teams this season and the Magic will be aiming to sweep the season 3-0.
Orlando has a record of 15 wins and 47 losses, which still sees us last in the Eastern Conference and with the worst record in the NBA. Over the last 10 games played the Magic have won 4, including the last two played. The home record stands at 7 wins of 28 games played. On the road it is 8 wins in 34 played for the Magic. Points per game sees the Magic are scoring 103.8 whilst conceding 111.8. The efficiency rating for Orlando remains 28th on offence and improved to 21st defensively.
Indiana now possess a record of 21 wins and 42 losses, seeing the Pacers surprisingly at 13th in the Eastern Conference. Of the last 10 games played Indiana have won 2. The road record stands at 6 wins of 30 games played. In points per game the Pacers score 109.7 whilst conceding 112.3, rating 17th on offence and 26th defensively.
If you want to read Josh Cohen’s game review on a night where Fultz returns as Orlando outpace Indiana it is available on the Orlando Magic website.